Christ is Risen!
The great event, the Glorious Resurrection of Christ, is celebrated by the Holy Orthodox Church as the greatest of all feast-days. It is the Feast of Feasts and celebration of celebrations. This Feast is called Pascha (Greek for “Passover”), that is, the day on which is accomplished our passage (Passover) from death to life and from earth to Heaven. The celebration of the Resurrection of Christ continues for a whole week, and services held in the church are celebrated more festively than on all other days. On the first day of the Feast, Matins begins at midnight. Before the beginning of Matins, the celebrants, vested in brilliant robes, together with the faithful, accompanied by the ringing of bells, carrying burning candles, the cross and icons, proceed around the church emulating the Myrrh-bearing women who proceeded to the tomb of the Saviour in the early morning. During the procession, everyone sings, “Thy Resurrection, O Christ Saviour, the angels hymn in the heavens; vouchsafe also us on earth with pure hearts to glorify Thee.” The first exclamation of Matins is made before the closed doors of the church while the festal hymn “Christ is Risen… ” is repeated many times; and then while singing the hymn they enter the church. The services continue all night with open Royal Doors signifying that now, by the Resurrection of Christ, the gates of the Kingdom of Heaven are opened for all. On every day of this great feast we greet one another with the brotherly kiss and the words, “Christ is Risen!” and answer with the words, “Truly He is Risen!” We greet each other in this way and exchange coloured eggs, which symbolize the new, blessed life revealed from the tomb of the Saviour. Bells ring all week. From the first day of Holy Pascha until vespers of the Feast of the Holy Trinity, no one is permitted to kneel in church or to make prostrations.
On the first Tuesday after Bright Week, the Holy Church extending the gladness of the Resurrection of Christ to those who died in the hope of the general resurrection especially commemorates the dead; and therefore, this day is called “Paschal Soul Day.” On this day, the Liturgy is celebrated with commemoration of the dead. On this day, it is customary to visit the graves of one’s close relatives. This custom differs in some aspects among local churches.
Besides this, the day of the Resurrection of Christ is celebrated by us on every Sunday of the year.
Troparion for the Feast of Pascha.
Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and on those in the tombs bestowing life.
Kontakion for the Feast of Pascha.
Though Thou didst descend into the grave, O Immortal One, yet didst Thou destroy the power of Hades. And didst rise as victor, O Christ our God, calling to the myrrh-bearing women: Rejoice! And giving peace unto Thine Apostles, Thou Who dost grant resurrection to the fallen.